Highlanders in the News: Week of Nov. 14

Every week, our Highlanders are using their education to do extraordinary things. Here, we’ll highlight some notable mentions from local, regional, national and international news media. Whether our students, alumni, faculty and staff are featured as subject matter experts in high-profile stories or simply helping make the world a better place, we’ll feature their stories.

Renee Adair, M.S. ’11 (photo courtesy of the Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority)

Seed money

A newly established local clinic that specializes in treating young people who have autism and other special needs is off to a promising start and recently got a boost from a state program that helps small businesses across Southwest Virginia.

Adair Behavioral Services in Tazewell, Virginia, received a $10,000 seed capital matching grant from the Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority earlier this month.

The clinic opened in April 2020, the brainchild of Renee Adair, M.S. ’11, a licensed and certified behavioral analyst and special education teacher.

“I had a vision of what I wanted the clinic to look like, and I invested everything I own to get it going,” Adair said in a Nov. 5 story in the Bristol Herald Courier. “The VCEDA grant gave me the ability to take the vision I had in my head and make it a reality.”

She used the grant money largely to create a sensory gym, with ball pits, a padded slide and a fidget wall, according to the story.

The clinic offers services to children up to age 18 and currently treats about 35 individuals. It has nine part-time workers and five full-time employees, with an eye to hire still more over the next few years. Adair also hopes to open a second clinic in West Virginia soon.

“Adair Behavioral Services LLC is providing specialized services which not only help the families and the children they serve but which also create jobs at the same time,” Jonathan Belcher, VCEDA executive director/general counsel, said in the article.

The VCEDA Seed Capital Matching Fund provides grant monies for new start-ups within the state’s e-Region – which includes Buchanan, Dickenson, Lee, Russell, Scott and Wise counties, as well as the city of Norton – and seeks to attract other small businesses to those areas.

Applicants must arrange dollar-for-dollar matching funds from at least one other source to match the requested amount and meet several other qualifications.


A quick check-in with Alli and Ally

Today in homophonous Highlanders, we have the case of two alums whose handles sound the same but have different spellings.

For Alli Schreiner, M.S. ’20, and Ally Marcus ‘19, the similarities don’t end with first names.

Both are also recent Radford University graduates who now work for the school system in Stafford County, Virginia, as psychologists.

Stafford schools featured both Schreiner and Marcus on its social media pages in recognition of National School Psychology Week, which ran Nov. 7-11.

Their posts ran Nov. 9 and included a staff introduction, as well as a brief bit of trivia about each.

“I am scuba certified,” Schreiner offered as her fun fact. 


“So far, I am the first and only person in my entire family to graduate college,” Marcus explained for hers, and added, “I have truly found my purpose as a school psychologist.”

The posts appeared on Twitter as well as Facebook and drew a healthy amount of likes and responses, including an exchange between Alli and Ally themselves.

“I feel famous,” Schreiner posted in a comment, and later wrote in a reply that Marcus was “10/10 school psych!”

“Right backatcha!” Marcus told her.

The Twitter introduction for Alli appears here, and the post for Ally is here.



Family business

The same year Chris McCarty ’89 earned his degree in business management at Radford University, his father Charles started up the longtime Vinton company Grand True Value Rental, a branch of the Servicestar Corporation.  

As a recent graduate at that time, McCarty joined the family business. He ran the rental company and, for just over three decades, provided town residents with all manner of tools and equipment, as well as supplies for countless weddings, parties and other events.

The end of that era arrived happily enough on Oct. 28, when McCarty retired from that position after 33 years, according to a Nov. 7 story in the Vinton Messenger. Family, friends, coworkers and customers were at the shop for a surprise farewell party.

The Messenger piece is not just a brief history of the McCartys’ Vinton businesses – the hardware store and rental office, as well as Grand Storage, which he helped found in 1998 – it’s also a profile of McCarty himself, his past and his plans for the future.

It says he’ll continue to run Grand Storage but hopes now to spend more time focused on his family, his substantial sports fandom and his longtime role as an avid member of the Vinton Lions Club, through which he was named Lion of the Year in 2020. 

Nov 18, 2022
Neil Harvey
(540) 831-5150